The Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) recently announced the establishment of the Future International Trade Alliance, in which both parties agreed to work on the development and acceptance of appropriate standards to facilitate the use of electronic bills of lading (eBL).
They will collaborate to raise awareness about the necessity of shared, interoperable data standards and uniform legal frameworks across foreign jurisdictions and platforms. The major goal is to increase the adoption of eBL among regulators, banks, and insurers by unifying communication and simplifying some procedures.
Digitalising container-shipping documents will be beneficial to suppliers, and aligning these standards with the eBL for dry and liquid bulk will help accelerating trade digitalisation. Of course, collaboration among all industry actors, both commerce and transportation, is critical to facilitating the circumstances required to attain this goal.
The official establishment of the FIT Alliance is the first good step toward the objective of standardisation; it is evidence of the collaborative efforts that exist among stakeholders. Because the container sector is so wide and its participants are so diverse, forming a group is already a very great start.
The agreement reached between DCSA and the different industry groups is an exciting step forward in the quest to standardize all container shipping paperwork through the digitalisation effort.